DT 26794 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26794

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26794

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

The Tuesday puzzle is always an adventure – there seem to be at least three (possibly more) regular setters so I’m never sure what I’m going to get to blog. I thought that this was a mixture with some amusing clues but with a couple of dodgy surfaces. Let us in on your thoughts.
To reveal an answer highlight the space between the brackets under the clues.

Across Clues

1a  Better cold drink container put back in front of office for coffee (10)
{CAPPUCCINO} – a type of coffee with froth (one that I’ve now discovered that I can’t spell) is brewed up from a) a verb meaning to better or outdo, b) C(old) and a drink container reversed (put back), c) IN (given in the clue) and d) the first letter (front) of O(ffice).

6a  Uncle, say, holding cape in trick (4)
{SCAM} – the name of the uncle who personifies the USA in the same way that John Bull does Britain contains (holding) the abbreviation of cape (the geographical feature, not the garment).

9a  Get rid of stunted trees (5)
{SCRUB} – double definition.

10a  Second person offering service I avoided in isolated area (9)
{BACKWATER} – this is an isolated area away from mainstream activity. Start with a verb meaning to second or endorse and add a person working in the service industry without the I (avoided).

12a  Road in front of Northern oak, say, and course (7)
{AINTREE} – the identity given to a major North-South road is followed by N(orthern) and what an oak is an example of (say) to make a famous racecourse.

13a  Noted potter in house (5)
{VIRGO} – double definition – the surname of an old snooker player (now a commentator) (I’m not sure why he’s noted) and a house (one of the twelve sectors on an astrological chart).

15a  Knitter manufactured worthless ornament (7)
{TRINKET} – an anagram (manufactured) of KNITTER.

17a  Outward appearance characterising Bondi champion? (7)
{SURFACE} – if you split this outward appearance as (4,3) you get someone who would do well in the sporting activities at Bondi beach. Today’s old chestnut.

19a  Manage at least twelve deliveries before middle of week (7)
{OVERSEE} – the definition here is manage or supervise. The deliveries referred to come in groups of six on the cricket field so you need at least twelve to necessitate use of the plural which is what we have here. Add the middle of (w)EE(k).

21a  Fruit’s fashionable, we hear (7)
{CURRANT} – this small dried fruit sounds like (we hear) an adjective meaning fashionable or modern.

22a  Communication device shown in time amid spin doctor’s work? (5)
{PAGER} – put a period of time inside (amid) the abbreviation of the activities of a spin doctor.

24a  Moan manufactured by a discontented lady? An irregular occurrence (7)
{ANOMALY} – this is an irregular occurrence, something deviating from the normal. An anagram (manufactured) of MOAN is followed by A and L(ad)Y. I do like discontented as a description of something with its contents removed and the surface is quite amusing.

27a  Elaborate revolutionary writer and inventor is hard to follow (9)
{EMBELLISH} – a verb meaning to elaborate or dress up is built from a) how the setter (writer) would refer to himself reversed (revolutionary), b) the surname of the Scot who invented the first practical telephone, c) IS (from the clue) and d) H(ard).

28a  Old US president taken with a dance (5)
{POLKA} – the eleventh president of the USA is followed by (taken with) A to make a lively dance.

29a  Some sheep escaped round part of fencing (4)
{EPEE} – hidden (some) and reversed (round) in the clue is a piece of equipment (part) used in fencing.

30a  Ground if sterile needing bit of revitalisation — with this? (10)
{FERTILISER} – something that a farmer or gardener would use to make his land more productive is an anagram (ground) of IF STERILE followed by (needing) the first letter (bit) of R(evitalisation).

Down Clues

1d  Weapon found in island hospital (4)
{COSH} – the name of a Greek island followed by H(ospital) makes a blunt instrument used as a weapon.

2d  VIP raves possibly about end of surveillance that’s widespread (9)
{PERVASIVE} – an adjective meaning widespread or rife is an anagram (possibly) of VIP RAVES around the end letter of (surveillance)E.

3d  Pontiff averse to the countryside? (5)
{URBAN} – double definition – the name chosen by eight pontiffs and an adjective meaning relating to towns or cities. “Averse to” doesn’t seem quite right – someone living in a city does not necessarily have an aversion to the countryside, but that may be the reason for the question mark.

4d  Musical exposed to view during another almost (7)
{CABARET} – this is the name of a musical based on a book by Christopher Isherwood. Put an adjective meaning exposed to view or stripped inside the name of another musical (this one by Lloyd-Webber) without its trailing S (almost).

5d  Greek character bungled clues? That’s the heart of the matter (7)
{NUCLEUS} – the thirteenth letter of the Greek alphabet is followed by an anagram (bungled) of CLUES.

7d  Supply college over a short academic period (5)
{CATER} – a verb meaning to supply comes from C(ollege) followed by (over, in a down clue) A and a truncated academic session.

8d  Puppet manipulated one time with art (10)
{MARIONETTE} – this puppet is an anagram (manipulated) of ONE TIME and ART.

11d  Faltering figure in Washington with shift embracing right (7)
{WAVERER} – this is someone who is unsteady (faltering figure). Start with the standard abbreviation for Washington in the USA (the state not the city) and follow this with a verb to change direction (shift) containing (embracing) R(ight).

14d  Phrase tome represented gives prevailing mood (10)
{ATMOSPHERE} – the prevailing mood or tone of a place is an anagram (re-presented) of PHRASE TOME.

16d  Flier among quickest released (7)
{KESTREL} – this could be a semi-all-in-one. A fast flier is concealed (among) in the clue.

18d  A woman placed on feature near window rising plant (9)
{AMARYLLIS} – this is a plant with trumpet-shaped flowers. Put A and a female name (Ms. Poppins, perhaps) in front of (placed on, in a down clue) a shelf under a window (feature near window) which is reversed (rising). The surface is not terribly smooth.

20d  Question one that’s dumped a rich source (7)
{EXAMINE} – a verb meaning to question or interrogate comes from one that’s dumped (he or she could equally well be a dumper as a dumpee) followed by A and a rich source (of valuable minerals, for example). “One that’s dumped” did make me laugh.

21d  Old church in island mostly showing decorative work (7)
{CROCHET} – insert O(ld) and an abbreviation for church inside our second Greek island of the day without its final E (mostly).

23d  Risk with mass leaving upper part of house (5)
{GABLE} – start with a verb to take a risk and remove the M(ass) to leave part of the structure of the upper part of a house. Again the surface isn’t great.

25d  Horrify a Scandinavian in turn (5)
{APPAL} – a verb to horrify comes from A followed by an indigenous person from Scandinavia reversed (in turn).

26d  Scottish landowner restricted retreat (4)
{LAIR} – remove the final D (restricted) from a Scottish landowner.

My favourite clues today were 19a, 24a and 20d. Let us know what you liked.

Today’s Quickie Pun: {PLAICE} + {MATT} = {PLACE MAT}

101 comments on “DT 26794

  1. I would agree, gazza. Some very nice moments but a couple of surfaces that caused a slight wrinkle in the nose. On the whole I enjoyed it. Thanks to yourself and the setter.

      1. This comment ended up in the wrong place I was referring to the people discussing xword in a rival paper.

  2. Anyone tried the Brendan (Virgilius) puzzle in todays Grauniad?

    It has a trick in it that I’ve never seen before and is very well crafted. Unfortunately, spotting the trick makes the puzzle relatively easy to solve but it’s well worth a look all the same :smile:

      1. I thought it was brilliant but there were 4 across clues I didn’t really need to solve once I’d spotted what was going on!

        How did he manage to fill the grid like that with only one obscure word needed (well, an obscure one as far as I’m concerned) ?

          1. I only had one small niggle!

            Just before I started the puzzle pommette had asked if today was Shrove Tuesday so it was in my mind. While I was solving I got 4 of the left hand acrosses before any of those on the right. Once I got a couple of those I twigged the theme so just wrote in all the other acrosses without even reading the clues!

            Made the puzzle rather easier than it might have been, but what a masterpiece from the master :grin:

              1. Not seen it done before either. How clever was that? You can see he must have put the across clues in the grid first and then had to fill in the downs, but didn’t have to resort to words normally ony seen on ‘Call My Bluff’! :grin: I really don’t understand how he could do it and doff my cap in amazement!

                As Gazza said a ‘Tour de Force’ – or, as we say in Manchester, ‘A bloody good show’!

    1. Thanks for the heads up. Off work today with a rotten bug and have just done the Cryptic and then the Grauniad instead of the Toughie. Think I made a good choice. Enjoyed the Cryptic (thanks to setter and Gazza) but absolutely loved the Grauniad. How clever!

    2. Brilliant Puzzle – I solved that and the Times whilst going to Town at Midday on the high speed line. If anyone is interested in times of the two they were both palindromic with no digits above 2!

          1. Didn’t do the Times but the theme in the Grauniad was a bit of a ‘gimme’, apart from I’d never heard of the fish! Probably took me about 15.

          2. Actually, it’s very nice to know the times of the experts!

            You don’t know what you’re missing….nothing better than to struggle over a crossword for an hour or two! :wink:

            1. A big wink I hope!. The Time today was quite straightforward (yesterday’s was even more so and about as fast as I can solve it (between South Ken and Holborn on the Picadilly) but still a full 4 minutes slower than our own Crypticsue).
              I am trying to solve the Times every day now but don’t always have time and when I do I don’t always finish. I can still spend 1 – 2 Hours on a puzzle, Anax’s Sunday Times being a case in point – 3 days and about 14 clues filled in!

            2. You try the Gauniad today? The theme really gave you half the across clues for free!

              Not normally that quick but I do have a time frame for the DT when i’m blogging – which is the only day I ever bother to look at solving time.

              If you really want to know I’ll tell you but it will have to be a private email.

              And BTW – I aint no expert or even much better than average!

    3. OK, time for Steve to look dumb again…

      Encouraged by all the comments about the Guardian, I did it for the first time ever, and was exttremely impressed by the clever structure (call it six pairs?).

      But… what was the “Shrove Tuesday related trick” (CS) ???

        1. Thanks, that was a bit too subtle for me at that late hour… fully three hours after I’d eatner my pancakes too!

  3. Morning Gazza, thanks for hints, I was desperately waiting for 13a! I am also in the ‘spell 1a wrong’ club today, so was held up for ages on 4d! thinking of Hair and Haircut etc.!!!! never heard of ‘nu’ 5d, or the US president in 28a, which leads me to say, could I have possibly have completed this without google today???? OK I would have put the two answers in but not understood them, so for me today a three to four star because of the obscure knowledge needed, also spelt 19d wrong wondering where the ‘mori’ came from! now how could ‘I’ do that! :-), top right hand corner hardest for me, good luck everyone, this took me a lot of perservating!

  4. Was left with 13a, knowing what the answer had to be but unable to figure out why. The superannuated potter didn’t occur to me for a moment. Other than that, flowed fairly easily but I agree some of the surfaces were iffy. (The answer to 13a reminds me of the old one about what you call a woman holding a pool cue and balancing a tray of lagers on her head – Beer-tricks Potter.)

    1. ** and*** today,very enjoyable,like you i twigged ‘the house astrological sign’ and thought the other ‘potter’ must be a greek version of Clarice Cliff ! or a Daniel Radcliffe pseudonym

      1. It’s a sort of departmental store where you can buy anything from a full length mirror (Mrs S) to car accessories (me). The prices are very reasonable but the quality can be a bit iffy.

                  1. Ooh not heard that either :-) Off to toss a few pancakes now, one son and grandson expected at last count!

      2. Mrs Skempie makes her own cards – the Range has a wonderful selection for her. For me, the best bit has to be the cheap CD-Roms and DVDs that you can pick up (gives me the opportunity to get a lot of rubbish off my hard disk).

    1. Well it is a lovely store seling just about anything, the only thing I wanted they didn’t have in size! It is like an extra large Wilkinson store, I was very proud of myself coming out without spending anything!

      1. I’ve never managed to do that. There is always something I see that I think I’ll need whether it’s a bottle of paint thinners or a set of metric spanners…what a schmuck!

  5. First read through – complete blank – then thank heaven for anagrams and some blanks disappeared. Had time to sit at it to-day and finally cracked it, from the bottom up. Also had never heard of 13a, though couldn’t see what else it could be – ditto 3d and 28a so badly needed hints for the explanations! Liked 12a and 27a but think favourite was 18d. 1a took me forever and last in was 1d. Thanks to setter and Gazza.

  6. Caused myself a few problems with my spelling of 1a. the 1d greek island I thought was spelt with K but after that was sorted not too bad. Thanks to the compiler & to Gazza for the explanations I needed for a couple of my answers.

  7. Fun crossword today, nice to see some clues involving different islands than the norm (ie Man, IOW, etc). I thought 19A and 30A were very good clues indeed and it was nice to see Mary making an appearance :smile:

  8. Did it. 3* difficulty. What a relief to have this blog explaining some of the answers – many thanks.

  9. We did better than I had expected from a first glance through,and once the first few answers were in things began to flow. Strange how obscure a president of the USA can be; had to check with Google to confirm the man existed. Some clues were very bitty; not convinced by ‘me’ for ‘writer’ in 27a and ‘woman’ in18d is not much of clue. As has been mentioned by Gazza, to whom thanks, and others – 13a’s ‘noted’ seems superfluous: I had assumed it was going to be a musical term until Lady L recognised the significance of ‘house’. I enjoyed 17a, even if it is an oldie, and 24a.

    1. the ‘me’ for writer is used quite a bit in cryptics and is always worth remembering. The ‘woman’ is of course Mary – I suppose other phrases could have been used, but I would have thought they would make the answer a bit more obvious. John Virgo is a noted potter since he has probably become more popular since retiring from professional snooker (I assume he has) and moving into TV as a commentator and also on that Jim Davidson thingy (whatever it was called).

      1. “The ‘woman’ is of course Mary ” -true – but could not woman stand for Antonia, Esmerelda, June, Frances etc. etc? to say nothing of plain and simple ‘W’. The range of female name possibilities is so large that it does not seem to give anything away. I am happy to say that the Jim Davidson thingy has passed me by entirely!

        1. Of course the woman could be any lady’s name (that fitted) although with the reversal of a part of a window, its fairly obvious (even to a non-gardener like myself). The JD thingy was Big Break, the funniest line being that delivered by John Virgo when asked to give instructions to the players always said ‘Pot as many balls as you can’.

  10. I did enjoy myself with this one, dodgy surfaces and all. My top favourite clue has to be 20d – loved the ‘dumped’. Thanks to the Mystery Setter and Gazza too.

    If you want a Toughie-style challenge try Brendan in the Guardian. An easier entertaining time can be had with Gurney in the FT. Both available free on line.

  11. A thought has just occurred to me regarding the “noted” in 13a. The original and best BBC snooker commentator (the one with the whispering voice) was Ted Lowe. I wonder whether the setter is saying that John Virgo may be a commentator but he’s “no Ted”! Too subtle? Probably.

      1. I think you’ll find that all the players featured in the record were part of the Matchroom syndicate and I don’t think John Virgo signed with them (if he did, it was much later)

  12. Finished this now – had a few problems so needed the hints to explain some – I’m blaming the lack of brain power on a VERY late night – much too late for a week night!
    I did at least know that I couldn’t spell 1a so looked it up before I wrote anything in. Until I checked in the BRB I didn’t realise that 9a was “stunted trees” – I thought it was just the general rubbish that grows on uncultivated land. 13a defeated me completely – always forget about the astrological things. I didn’t understand the “Popey” bit of 3d. I’d never heard of the US president.
    I enjoyed this – the clues that I particularly liked were 17 (even if it is an old one), 24 and 30 and 16 and 20d.
    With thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the explanations.

  13. I managed this in 2 pints and a slurp from the next + a big of chilli peanuts so good going for me. I actually cursed myself out loud when I got 28A.

    I thought 13A wasn’t the best of clues and I finished NE corner last too like many others.

    Is it just me or did there seem to be a lot of (well more than usual) shortened by one letter type answers – 26D, 7D and 4D come to mind.

    All in all some good moments. Thx.

    1. Now that’s what I call a pleasant way of measuring the time it takes to finish a puzzle! With Mrs S away at her mother’s I may be tempted to wander down to our local hostrelry and partake in a few libations myself. Where’s my coat?

      1. A big of chilli peanuts is of course a bag.

        May I ask, via this blog, could the landlord of The Plough in Macclesfield organise his Black Sheep deliveries earlier as I’m having to sup Tetleys at the moment whilst staring wistfully at a bar towel across the Mouton Noir pump.

        1. Ey up lad! There used to be nowt wrong with a pint of Tetley’s when it was brewed in Leeds although these days it’s probably concocted in a sterile laboratory somehere down south…

          1. Problem with Tetleys is it is owned by Carlberg these days – anathema to me.

            Black Sheep is brewed up in Masham and privately owned still. I think.

            1. Have you tried “Rigwelter”? It’s a Yorkshire brew and is 5.7% proof I think. It’s a drop of good ale. The name comes from a sheep which has rolled on to its back and can’t turn over. It’s an expression used in my family for the feeling you get after a hefty Sunday dinner accompanied by a good intake of ale.

              1. No not tried that. I’m not averse to something feisty – being a fan of Adnam’s Broadside – but session ale is better for crossword clarity I think.

                Re the post prandial agonies you refer to my wife calls that ‘sprout fury’ regardless of the presence of said veg.

            2. Sorry for butting in but I normally drink Black Sheep in the village here in Northants. It wasn’t until I googled the brewery just now that I realised it was founded by a member of the Theakston family.

              1. You are quite correct. (Was ‘butting in’ a deliberate pun? I do hope so.

                The Theakston in question is the proverbial black sheep by his own admission.

                1. Yes, I thought it was in keeping with Black Sheep’s puns eg. baa towel etc. I fondly remember Theakston’s Old Peculier from my days at Lancaster Uni over 30 yrs ago. I’ve enjoyed Black Sheep for a few years now and find the Theakston’s link unsurprising.

          2. I used to drink Tetley’s when I lived in the UK but now it is Grolsch or Amstel.
            Are you a Loiner?

          3. I thought that “Tetley’s was tea – how would I know – don’t drink tea although I do like beer. :smile:

  14. Tough today, I think it was a tuition process for me. Very convuluted clues (1a, 12a,27a to name but a few). Not easy.

  15. Thanks to the mysteron & Gazza for the review & hints. Really enjoyed this one, was beaten by 18d, shame because it was in the other day. Favourites were 12, 13,17a all sporty, & 3d which I only got because I watched the programme about the Crusades! Very entertaining.

  16. Late on parade for this one, found it difficult, need to brush up on Presidents and Popes!

    Thanks for the hints and tips.

  17. Me too, need to brush up on the popes but really enjoyed this and found it not too difficult. Last one in was 13a as I just did not think of that kind of potter and did not understand the “in house” part. Thanks to setter & Gazza :smile:

  18. Didn’t enjoy this one – must be the weather it is behaving like a yo-yo – however finally finished it.
    Faves : 10a, 19a, 28a, 3d, 4d & 18d.

    My daughter always gives me a couple of 18d at the end of each year and they normally flower magnificently but this time all I got is leaves!

  19. Found this very easy to be honest 13a being the last one in. Overall rather forgettable but a good distraction for the commute.

  20. Grim. I’m genuinely amazed that anyone could have enjoyed this. 1a was a dreadful clunk clunk clunk clue, 4d I could never have solved, ditto 18 (completely agree with the poster above who points out that “woman” in a clue is no help at all). Still, thanks to 28 I now know the 11th president of the USA and that’s bound to come in handy.

    1. I bet you enjoyed it just a little bit, Grumpy Andrew, or you wouldn’t have bothered getting all the way through it, which I assume you did from all the clues you quote! What about stopping being “Grumpy Andrew” and just becoming “Andrew”? :smile:

      1. Kath, I used to buy the Guardian but changed papers because I disliked their crosswords so much. Before changing I occasionally posted on a site where their already was an Andrew. As he was there first it seemed only fair that it was me who altered his name. As for this crossword, no, found very little fun here. Let me add 27 to the clues I hated – inventor means bell. Of course, what else could it be?

        1. No – inventor doesn’t mean “Bell” but he is a very well known example of one, and, probably, is one of the first who would spring to mind. I enjoyed this crossword, even though I was SO sleep deprived that I could hardly think straight – on that happy, if sleepy note, going to bed!

            1. Now I think about it, maybe 21d was the worst clue. We’re supposed to get Crete from “island”, like it’s the only land mass surrounded by water.

  21. I thought this was a nice romp and easier than yesterday’s vintage Rufus which just goes to prove the “horses for courses” adage. As ever, clueless on gardening clues so the plant was last to go in. Thanks to setter and Gazza – very nice picture of the bird in 16d by the way (although I’d rather see it hovering than on a gauntlet).

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